Dozens of Minnesota families hit by a string of tornadoes this summer have new help available to them. Two months ago, nine tornadoes swept across the state. The strongest, an EF-2, slammed into the town of Forada in Douglas County, damaging at least 100 homes and businesses.
"We had an 80-foot tree come right through the middle of the house," said Dave Waletzko, whose mother, Donna, lives in Forada.
Waletzko puts in several hours of work a day in an effort to get his mother's life back on track.
"There's basically not anything been done on the property as yet," he said.
Donna wasn't inside when the tornado hit. She's now living in an apartment in Alexandria and waiting on insurance and a structural engineer's report on whether the roof can be repaired or not.
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"Insurance is tough," Waletzko said. "We've learned that we have to learn to dance with the insurance company, and then you have to learn their dance."
The Waletzkos were thrilled at how smooth their experience was Monday applying for a new, low-interest relief loan from the federal government's Small Business Administration, which has a temporary office set up in Alexandria.
"It's for whatever insurance doesn't cover, but people don't have to wait for their insurance to settle to apply for a disaster loan," said Laurie Dana with the SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance.
Homeowners can get up to $240,000 in loans toward repairing homes and replacing items lost in the disasters. Interest rates are below 2 percent. Click here for information on applying.
Julie Anderson, the county's emergency management director, anticipates any semblance of a full recovery for the city to be many months away.
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"We have damage that is unbelievable," Anderson said. "Thousands and thousands of trees that are down, and whether or not your main home was destroyed, some are severely damaged. It will be a very, very long process."
The state of Minnesota is also offering forgivable loans for flood and tornado victims on top of any available insurance and federal funds. Source: MSN